The question I dread most: Have you ever had a baby?
I am actually surprised at how many people ask me this question. I’m not saying it’s not valid but I’d say 1 in 3 interviews I get asked this. I’m never sure what they are always looking for but I answer the question honestly, no. This question takes me back to my days working as an RN in labor and delivery when I had another nurse tell me she would lie to her patients when they asked and tell them she had 2 children to give her credibility. I had another nurse tell me that a patient would have fired me if I had her as an assignment because she only wanted someone who had gone through labor and birth. My first reaction was to be offended at this but really, every patient and client has a right to pick the provider of their choice. If having someone who has labored and birthed already is what the client wants, then by all means hire someone with those experiences! I had someone else ask me if I felt less qualified because I have never had a baby. Now this question turns over a different rock and truly gets to the base of the iceberg; that is the question!
Question: Have you ever had a baby?
Real Question: How do you think you could care for me in labor when you’ve never had labor yourself?
Ah ha!! It’s OK, you haven’t hurt my feelings by asking the question! Now that we’re being frank with one another, here’s my in depth answer:
My having or not having a child is never going to change how I treat or support you. My not having a child can actually be a significant benefit to you because I have no preconceived notions about what labor or birth should look like. Let’s say I had an easy, quick labor with minimal pain or pushing and I am telling you this is the type of labor you could have if you do everything I did and you end up having yourself a marathon labor that has had you asking yourself if an epidural would have been easier (you know it wouldn’t, but there comes a time in long labors when I’ve heard moms vocalize this!). Or I tell you about my marathon labor and you are fearful of that and end up having a short, easy labor. Now I’m not saying that midwives who have had babies are useless or judgmental, because that is NOT the case but it does give you an idea as to why having a midwife with no experience and TONS of empathy is a bonus. We are a clean slate waiting to be written on. We are patient with whatever labor we are presented with and we have no previous personal experience to draw from or compare you to. It does not make me any less qualified or capable of supporting you in your labor, just as it doesn’t make those lovely male OBGYN’s any less qualified to care for you 😉 We know labor and birth can be the most challenging, exhilarating experience the female will ever get to experience. We don’t have to go through it to know that, your face and the look of joy at completion tell us everything we need to know! So next time you ask your midwife who has never had a baby this question, just jump right to the real question and I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the answer and the care we give!